Global charitable initiatives

Since 2012, we have endeavored to bring our people together virtually (and when we can, physically) in support of our global charitable initiatives. These are in addition to the many local charitable activities that our 50+ offices around the world support. Our global charitable initiatives are proposed and sponsored by a different region each year. Each region is asked to choose an initiative that resonates with the worldwide staff, enjoys broad support among staff members globally and motivates many of them to participate and take action.

Our 2021 Global Charitable Initiative focuses on fighting systemic racism and championing social justice worldwide. This important and timely cause was selected by the firm’s Global and US Chair Shauna Clark, who was appointed in December 2020, becoming the first woman of color to be chair of an “Am Law 200” firm.

Corporate responsibility videos

Global Charitable Initiatives: A decade of giving

Video Details


Fighting racism and championing social justice

Our 2021 Global Charitable Initiative focuses on fighting systemic racism and championing social justice worldwide, a vitally important and timely cause selected by our Global and US Chair Shauna Clark, the first woman of color to be chair of an “Am Law 200” firm. The aim of the initiative is to raise awareness as to the importance of fighting racism and championing social justice in business, in local communities and as individuals through fundraising, pro bono and volunteering opportunities with charities focused on these causes; in the US, this includes the Anti-Defamation League, the Tahirih Justice Center and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Where possible, we also will join with like-minded clients in these activities to expand our reach.

Each region or jurisdiction is encouraged to interpret the themes of fighting racism and championing social justice in a way that resonates with their local community and culture, identifying an organization active in this cause with which to partner in 2021. The highlight of the campaign is an in-person event, the Run Against Racism, which is scheduled for September 19, 2021 in Houston, with 1k, 5k, 10k and walking options available, as well as other activities and a post-race lunch planned. 

Beneficiaries: The Anti-Defamation League, Tahirih Justice Center, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and other worldwide organizations dedicated to the cause of fighting racism and championing social justice.
Sponsor region: US


Building sustainable communitiesTree icon

Through our global charitable initiative for 2020, we were committed to building sustainable communities by promoting environmental sustainability. For the purpose of this initiative, we defined sustainability as climate change, protection of the environment on land and below water, responsible consumption and supply, and sustainable cities. 

Each region or jurisdiction interpreted this theme in a way that resonated with their local environmental sustainability focus, and partnered with and supported their preferred local charities in the area of environmental sustainability.

Beneficiaries: ONF (a subsidiary of the French National Forest Office) and other environmental-related charities
Sponsor region: EMEA



The Global Food Challenge

The aim of the Food Challenge was to fight hunger and reduce food waste in our local communities globally. We helped at foodbanks, organizing food drives, raising funds for homeless shelters and reducing food waste at home and at work. The Global Food Challenge resonated with many. Our offices have continued to work with the charities they championed throughout the year and globally, we have continued to explore how we can reduce our footprint. Learn more about the Global Food Challenge.

Beneficiaries: Food-related charities
Sponsor region: Australia


Challenge 67: Breaking ground in South Africa Challenge 67

A team of 167 volunteers from 24 of our offices spent the weekend of February 10-12, 2017 helping to build a facility for Menzi Children’s Home in the township of Tsakane. With the aid of Food and Trees for Africa, they also planted a sustainable food garden at Vuyani Primary School to help support the Home’s learner feeding program.

This build was part of the primary fundraising activity for our Challenge 67 initiative, which aimed to help change the lives of disadvantaged people in this community. The weekend’s events included digging foundations, making bricks and concrete furniture, painting doors and creating a mosaic statue of Nelson Mandela. Our volunteers paid their own way to Johannesburg or used donated air miles.

Beneficiary: Menzi Children’s Home
Sponsor region: South Africa

Video Details


Special Olympics: The Great Canadian Canoe Challenge Canadian Canoe Challenge

We championed Special Olympics as our global charitable initiative in 2015-2016, raising US$250,000 for this global social movement with one mission: people with intellectual disabilities can – and will – succeed when given the chance.

Our principal Special Olympics fundraiser was a sponsored paddling (canoeing) event – The Great Canadian Canoe Challenge. Paddlers each committed to raising a minimum of US$250 in sponsorship, and funded their own travel to Canada. We also hosted masterclasses in our offices, encouraging colleagues to share their skills with others – everything from cryptic crosswords to ceilidh dancing and a tour of Paris on a Vespa scooter – in return for donations.

We were delighted to have reached our fundraising target for this excellent charity, helping Special Olympics to continue its work in providing year round training and competitions to more than 4.4 million people in 170 countries.

Beneficiary: Special Olympics
Sponsor region: Canada


BP MS 150: Fighting multiple sclerosis BP MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive neurological disease which affects more than 2.5 million people worldwide, mostly between the ages of 20 and 50. There is no known cure and the cause is still unknown. Vital work is being carried out to help people who live with the challenges of MS, and we are proud to make a small contribution to this effort.

The BP MS 150 is a grueling 180-mile (290 km), two-day bicycle ride from Houston to Austin, Texas, which is organized each year by the US National MS Society to raise money to help people with MS. The ride is a permanent fixture in our global calendar and, to date, our riders have raised close to US$1.1 million for MS charities.

Beneficiaries: Various MS Charities
Sponsor region: US


Jubilee Sailing Trust: Sail the World Challenge Sail the World Challenge

We supported the Jubilee Sailing Trust, a UK charity which promotes the integration of people of all physical abilities through the challenge and adventure of tall ship sailing, on a two-year voyage around the world.

We joined a professional crew of eight as volunteers on board a square-rigged barque, the Lord Nelson, for an epic voyage as the first disabled-accessible tall ship to sail around Cape Horn and make landfall in the southern hemisphere.

The Lord Nelson has taken more than 24,000 people to sea, 10,000 of them physically disabled, among them 5,000 wheelchair users. The voyage won us Global CSR Initiative of the Year at the American Lawyer Global Legal Awards in 2013.

Beneficiary: Jubilee Sailing Trust
Sponsor region: Europe, Middle East and Asia

For more information about our global charitable initiatives, please read our Corporate Responsibility brochure.


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